1st PlAce - Silver/Argentium® Silver
Raised with both Eastern and Western influences, Melbourne-based artist Mehrnoosh Ganji is the founder of Mehr Atelier. She had an industrial design background before she discovered the world of jewelry-making. Her delicate piece is a perfect example of her skills not only as a metalsmith but as an industrial designer. Beautifully designed, exceptionally crafted, and precision engineered, it is definitely a piece to be honored.
Where did you get the title for this piece?
I was inspired by a historic architectural monument in the city of Tehran, the Golestan Palace. The building has magnificent mirror work and beautiful stained-glass windows that I tried to capture and articulate in my piece.
How long did it take to make the piece?
Around 400 hours.
What obstacles did you have to overcome in making this piece
I had to do a lot of math calculations from an engineering point of view to make it work because of the geometric shapes. A tiny miscalculation would have been a problem. Working out the mechanism and putting everything together was also a challenge.
Will this piece inspire other pieces?
Probably yes; although, I like to make one-of-a-kind pieces. But from an engineering point of view, it will definitely inspire other works.
What did you feel when you heard?
I was so happy, excited and honored. I couldn’t believe it. It was great news.
Have you won other awards? If so, what?
Yes. The Best Handskills Award of Graduate Exhibition 2014 from Melbourne Polytechnic. I was a finalist in the Apprentice/Student category in Craftsmanship and Design Award from Jewellers Association of Australia in 2014. I received a Commendation in Jewellery Design in the Graduate of the Year Award from the Design Institute of Australia in 2014.
Name fun facts about yourself.
I love to have adventures. I would like to go skydiving and bungee jumping at some point. I will have more control over my fears if I do things like that. Then I can face all my other fears. My husband and I plan to go to New Zealand in a couple of weeks and I hope to bungee jump there.
I’m an introvert. I love people and culture, and diversity fascinates, inspires and excites me. It might be the main reason that I love to travel. I love nature and animals. I sometimes have fears and negative feelings, which I try to overcome.
Of all the arts and crafts why did you choose jewelry?
For as long as I can remember, I had a passion for art and crafts. I have always loved to design and make objects with my hands. I have an industrial design background. When I finished my degree, I took a jewelry course as a hobby while I was working in industrial design and just fell in love with it. This is my calling: Having an inspiration and design in mind, and then turning cold, rough metal into a detailed and delicate product that has meaning and connects to people. It is very powerful, meaningful and emotional. I love everything about making jewelry, from idea development and design to the making process and all its challenges, to bringing a beautiful creation into life that will be closely connected to someone.
What do you think has been the strongest influence or inspiration on your work?
Architecture, mysticism, geometry, culture and the diversity of the world. Mechanism and movement. Nature is also a large inspiration and influence in my work: The way light shines and vibrant colors. People and artists who are passionate about their work are inspirational, too. I try my best to be open and to get inspired by all I can.
Do you have any advice for those starting out in the jewelry world?
Have passion for what you do, and also make your work sustainable. Think about future generations and the world. Everyone has unique gifts and abilities to contribute to the world. Please do not underestimate your capabilities and talents.
What would you say you know now about living a happy and successful life you didn’t know when you were 20?
I am calmer now and understand that everything will be okay if I have to face a problem. The universe will show me the way. I didn’t know that at 20; I often overthought the situation. Sometimes I couldn’t sleep at night. Now, every day I remind myself to follow my intuition and to trust the universe.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I would like to be remembered for my service to people and for my art. I would like my work to be around for generations after me. And in this lifetime, I would like to be known as a good person who does what she can to make the world a better place.
What artist, dead or alive, do you most admire?
I admire Vincent Van Gogh because he was so passionate about his work. He just wanted to show and express his creativity, not caring that much about money or society's opinion. Just feeling his obsession for his art is very inspiring.
What is your favorite quote in either business or art?
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
Vincent Van Gogh
“There's not one extra person in the world. We all matter. We all have genius within us waiting to be developed. We all have the power to do something that will lift the world, in our own original way. ” Robin Sharma
What is the best advice you received?
Being a good artist and a successful business person can go together.
What is your definition of “success”?
Helping myself to be who I am meant to be. Reaching my true potential while helping, empowering and uplifting others to reach their dreams and goals. Success is contributing a positive output to the expansion of the universe. A person who leaves the world a place better than when she/he received it.
Who has been most supportive in helping your business grow?
My husband, Aiden, and my family. Also my friends in the Northcity4 community and all the people I have learned from both in business and in my practice.
What is your favorite tool?
My favorite tool is my electronic digital caliper, which helps me to measure everything as accurately as possible.
Is the product or the process more important to you?
The process. Definitely. The end product is important but the process is what makes it good. I am obsessive about detail. I try to make every piece the best it can be.
Describe your studio.
I am a part of a shared studio called Northcity4. It is a beautiful community of jewelers in an equipped open studio, and each of us has a separate space. Everyone is so supportive of each other. We have a kitchen to have our lunch and tea together and talk about the industry and all the important issues of our work and life, or ask for advice and recommendations. We have lots of birthday cakes and laughter. I am so lucky to be a part of this creative community.
What is your differentiator?
My pieces communicate with the wearer in a very unique way. They convey feelings of empowerment, connection and confidence. My designs are different. I don’t see my style in anyone else’s work. It is delicate. I love the fact that I design the back of my jewelry as well. I think of my jewelry as a total piece. I pay attention to every detail.
What metals, gemstones, processes are most important to you?
I do a lot of work in silver. I also love 18k yellow gold for its softness, warmth and color. I love using color gemstones. Aquamarine, emerald, ruby topaz, citrine, garnets and color diamonds.
Interview by Marlene Richey